Jimmy's Birth Story Part II

James convinced me not to take a bath and we jumped in the car. I remember him calling his parents and telling them we were on our way. I was still in complete denial and made them promise not to tell anyone until we knew I was for sure in labor. He hung up and I said "If I am not at least at a 3 when I get there I will never make it without an epidural." I was in so much pain. So so much pain.

As we got closer James started taking video as we pulled up to the hospital. In my head I was thinking 'are you kidding me right now?' He was so excited. We pulled up and found the labor parking. James ran in to make sure it was the right spot. It was still freezing for Charlotte. I remember waddling in and more than one person offering me a wheelchair. James chuckled and declined for me. He knew I would want to keep walking to help labor. We checked in at the front desk and were directed to the triage section. I bent over in pain and the woman at the desk said "oh honey, you got this." And away we went. When we got in the elevator James started crying. It was a big day.

James took a photo of the clock as I signed in. It was 7:48 pm. The nurses took me back and said they needed a sample. Everyone seemed to be moving in slow motion. Without any shame I asked if James could help me as I put on my hospital gown and peed in a cup. I remember looking at him and crying because I loved him so much. I was definitely at my least attractive state, ever. And here I was with no shame asking him to help me rub my back and put my gown on. This is why I love natural labor. Never before have I felt so close to James.

I remember coming back into the room. They read me my stats - name, doctor, etc. And then the bomb last weight at the doctor! I was like, oh wow! I haven't been looking, but thanks for that. Definitely gained a solid 15 to 18 pounds more this time around. I tried to shake it off and have a good laugh. No turning back now.

I got on the bed and asked the nurses if they could please check me. Semi annoyed the nurse did and then quickly left the room to get another nurse to double check. I was dilated to an 8.5. I was beyond shocked. And also so so so relieved. I cried serious tears of joy. I was going to make it! We quickly texted his family and my family on our Staples7 thread. Everyone was so excited. Katie sent sweet texts about delivery and then Mary said, "enjoy your trip to heaven tonight. We are jealous." James and I both got really emotional and locked eyes. Remembering just how spiritual these moments are. From there things started happening extremely fast, as they realized I wasn't exaggerating my discomfort. I told them to put a port in my arm just in case I needed a c-section. Even though I don't do an IV I just like to be all set - I don't want my desire to go natural to interfere with any medical emergencies. They assured me there was no time for a port and I was definitely not going to need a c-section. I asked if I could walk to the delivery room. I am a huge believer in walking while in labor as it helps distract me and moves the baby down. Laughing the nurse said, "Ummm you can't even stand up till we get there. This baby will fall out." We all had a good laugh as they wheeled me on up.

At this point I still wanted to stand. I met my sweet nurse Kimberly. James' number 1 job is to comfort me and number 2 is to make friends with the nurses and keep them happy, it makes everything easier on everyone. Kimberly was amazing.  As I am standing I tell her again, I think I need to go to the bathroom. She checks me. You're at a 9. Call the doctor. The room was a flurry as I bent over to breath. James begged a nurse to take photos. I didn't even have a monitor this time which was awesome and helped me more comfortably labor. The pain was so intense and much lower this time. I don't seem to scream during labor, just kind of arghhh. Everyone was peppy around me and I was glad James kept the mood happy. They even brought in a labor ball. I definitely didn't have that with Annie.

 Things got a bit frantic here. My doctor (who luckily happened to be on call that night) couldn't be found anywhere. I was really wanting to push. I remember trying to hold the baby in at this point. I was nervous. And then suddenly I was like, "I NEED TO PUSH." The nurse tells me to quickly get on the bed and then yelled "Just get ANY doctor in here!" Nurses started pouring in. I asked if everything was ok. Kimberly said yes, but we want a lot of nurses because I might deliver this baby. She checked me while I knelt on the bed so James could rub my back. It was so nice no one made me lay or sit the entire time in the labor room. You're crowning she said. And bam. Dr. Bijwani walked in the door. I remember him saying "hey kiddo! Lets do this!" He was so reassuring. I had been in the labor room for less than 10 minutes at this point.

I flipped over. They put the stirrups in and I remember thinking there is NO WAY this is happening so fast. The doctor slipped his gloves on. At this point everyone was smiling - there were still about 15 nurses in there. They asked if they could stay to watch and we said yes. My water still hadn't broken. It was the same thing with Annie. Kimberly begged the doctor to not pop it. She later explained that some babies come out in the sac and then it pops as the baby exits the birth canal. She said doctors don't love to do it as it can make them a bit messy but the doctor definitely thought about it and then went ahead and popped it. That was a huge instant relief in and of itself. He then asked me to push. Both labors I want to curse the world for only talking about the pain of contractions. Screw contractions. Pushing is so dang painful! It's the kind of pain where you know you are making progress. But oh man, ouch! One push down and with the second push James said "he has hair!" And I am like "you can see his hair?"I remember my legs shaking like crazy as usual. On the second push out came his head! The relief and sudden loss of pressure that had been there for MONTHS was so instantaneous. "His head is out PUSH!" And then my favorite part when you just feel them slip and tumble right on out. It was 8:28 pm. I had just checked into the hospital exactly 40 minutes prior. 

And just like that there he was! James was already bawling! My adrenalin was going so fast. With both babies I am amazed that the pain is immediately gone. I just had the biggest grin on my face. Jimmy's cry was instantly noticeably quieter than Annie's. James cut the chord. They wiped Jimmy off and placed him on my chest. I was still out of breath and just gushing over him. I kept saying "he is so tiny! He is way smaller than Annie was, right!"And then he completely stopped crying. All on his own. We have video of all of this as I am like "wait, why is he stopping! Is he ok?" And the nurse is totally calm. Says he is completely fine. Instantly, Jimmy could calm himself. I am telling you. They come how they come. It was wild to see the difference between Jimmy and Annie just at birth and James and I both noticed it right away. As we gushed over him James continued to say "you did it sweetie, you did it" while stroking my hair. These sweet moments are the most sacred of my entire life. The crazy, difficulty of labor is so spiritual as it quickly ends in an eternal and celestial feeling with a baby on your chest. The pain is instantly gone and the reward is better than anyone could ever describe. Doing all of this with just my husband by my side is something that has bound us together forever. I keep trying to make the broad analogy that labor and pregnancy seem a little like our time on earth. As I imagine a sudden and instant relief and pure, real joy when we get to the other side. 

We keep watching this video back. James says "That was awesome!" And the doctor says. "Yes, that was fun!" He topically numbed me and did a few small stitches. He kept saying how great and fast it all was. Although he was only in the room for about 30 minutes max, I really really loved my time with this doctor. He was calming and thought it was amazing how James and I could manager this together. He was loving and made me feel so wonderful about the decision not to have an epidural. He said it was one of his funnest deliveries and though I am certain he was just trying to make me feel good... it did just that! 

I held Jimmy and then they quickly washed him up. He weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces and was 20 inches long. He definitely was not smaller than his sister. You just forget how tiny they are. They ran their few quick tests and all left the room so we could have our time. I loved this. James and I gushed over our new baby boy. From the first second Jimmy was a special spirit for us. His pregnancy was full of trials and loss. It was hard on me physically as I gained more weight and he sat extremely low. Emotionally it tried me as I had a lot of travel and a lot of tears during all of this. But here he was. He was perfect and sweet. He had a light in his eyes and I could almost perfectly imagine his send off from the sweet spirits in heaven. A dear friend once said that she believes newborns pass back and forth through the veil for a time. I am not sure that this is doctrinally correct but I believe they are oh so close to the other side. Having that in my arms after so much loss brought great peace to the room as we snuggled and nursed our sweet boy. He represented all that was good and right in the world. It truly was a short visit to heaven.

After about 45 minutes Kimberly returned. It was time to me to go to the postpartum floor. I was so sad to leave this wonderful, loving nurse. She took a few more photos of us and was nice enough to let me hold my baby and walk for a bit. With both Jimmy and Annie I have really wanted to walk out of the room holding my babe, since I can still feel and use my legs. It's against hospital policy as you might fall but Kimberly was nice enough to let me do my victory walk for a small jaunt before forcing me into a wheelchair.

We said goodbye to our delivery team and snuggled into our new room. It was now only about 9:30 pm. We were amazed. Just 2 hours before we had left our house and we were already in recovery. We relished all of these moments. Texted friends and family and then snuggled in to get some rest. I remember being so worried that delivery and birth wouldn't be as great the second time. But sure enough, it was. Nothing, absolutely nothing will beat those first moments holding your new baby. There is a difference between fun and true joy. This is the truest form. Welcome to the world James Clarence Barker III. From your first moments on earth you were content, sweet and our little bundle of happiness. Thanks for bringing light to our dark days. We love you!

Jimmy's Birth Story Part I

For several days I had been having some pretty intense contractions. With Annie, my birth was 10, maybe only 9.5, hours from first contraction to delivery. So I was really wanting to be on my toes about going into the hospital. I didn't want to be having a baby in the car. I remember on about February 20th we had gone on our last date night and I remember walking curbs in our parking lot while talking to James on the phone, who had to stay inside with a sleeping Annie. We decided to go to try to sleep and the contractions quickly stopped. This was very different from my labor with Annie. The first contraction I had with her led to delivery. Not this time. I was having loads of contractions for about 2 weeks before. Sunday February 22 I didn't go to church. I felt awful and sent James. I promised him I would call if I really thought I was going into labor. I remember texting my Mom and asking about her delivery with Derek. I was in SO much pain and he was so low. This was so different than my experience with Annie. I wondered what it meant for my delivery. The next few days I had small contractions but things definitely slowed.

I woke up Friday February 27 at 2 am to some intense contractions. I got up, took a shower and did my hair. Contractions were about 10 minutes apart consistently. I woke James up. We timed them and he tickled my back for a bit and somehow I fell back asleep. I woke back up at 7 am and was disappointed I had fallen asleep and that I wasn't in labor. I went on a SUPER fast walk around the neighborhood. They were strong and consistent at about every 6 minutes while I walked. But as soon as I got home they shifted to every 10 and weren't too painful. So I sent James to work. I really didn't want him to stay home and make a scene if I wasn't in labor. James was certain it would be today. I didn't believe him. I still had a few things left to do on my list. One of them was hanging picture frames. So I packed Annie up and we went to Ikea. This still makes me chuckle. I was SO convinced that I wasn't in labor that I drove myself 20 minutes away with a toddler, while having contractions every 10 minutes. I was definitely in early labor. I also had to make some returns. This is a brutal outing for anyone, let alone someone in labor. I clearly wasn't thinking straight. We did Ikea. I managed to get the frames and bought Annie (and myself) an ice cream. I remember I saw a friend in Ikea who thought I was completely nuts as I was timing my contractions on my app. They weren't too strong and I'd just grin and bare it as I walked through the store. I probably had about 4 contractions while in the store. I got home and Annie took a little nap. I hung a few frames while she slept and actually laid down and dozed for a few minutes as well. We both got back up around 3:30. Contractions were getting a little closer. Maybe 8 minutes apart. Very little progress but still consistent. I was keeping James updated throughout the day. It was a slow Friday afternoon for him, which was nice. He had just wrapped up a big project so the timing seemed ideal. I loaded Annie up with the stroller and we walked to get the mail. I remember my Mom had sent us the Friend and it was the perfect distraction for Annie. I really booked it as we walked up and down the hills in my neighborhood and my goodness, I quickly kicked myself into labor. They doubled in intensity and frequency. I started to cook dinner. I really like distractions while in labor, obviously. I let Annie watch some of Frozen and braced myself during contractions. At about 5:30 I sent James a screenshot of my phone and said, "you better come home." And then it was like all the sudden I needed him NOW. Annie was wanting me to play Elsa and Ana but I could barely breath through my contractions. Somehow I still had myself convinced that this might not be it. But James INSISTED he call Jon and Donnarae to come get Annie. He called them in the cab on the way home. He told them to sit tight till he could assess the situation at home. Thankfully, Donnarae didn't listen and started to head out the door. In between all of this I made sure to do the important things - like eating my filet mignon dinner while having contractions 4 minutes apart. #pregnantlady Donnarae arrived at about 6:15pm. I cried when I saw her for so many reasons. I have friends as close as family here. I didn't hesitate for a single moment about leaving Annie with her. I knew she was in great hands. I also cried because it was the last time I'd see Annie without a brother. I hugged her so tight. She could careless. She was so excited to be having a sleepover with Annie and Parker. Donnarae has her babies really fast so she was worried sick about me taking my time. She whisked Annie away and made me promise to get to the hospital fast. I remember bending over in pain in front of her and her gritting her teeth saying, I know this feeling. It was great to have here there for a few minutes. James' adrenaline was kicking in and he was bustling around the house in between contractions. We decided to call the doctor about 6:25. James explained the situation and the nurse encouraged us to come in. He told her I may want to take a bath first. She discouraged this but said it was up to us. I had REALLY wanted to take a bath, as so many people said this helps relieve the pain. But James really pushed me not to. During all of this I would bend over the bed and James would massage my lower back. The massage really, really helped. Looking at this photo now I laugh so hard. I was massive and oh so uncomfy... More to come.


Snow in Charlotte

It may not look like much, but snow like this shuts down the entire city of Charlotte! I heard somewhere that they have 2 snow plows for the entire city. I am sure that's not the case, but you get the picture. Most of the main roads are clear but the problem is getting out of your small streets. I had a gut feeling that Jimmy was going to come early. I just knew it. So when this snow dumped on us just 11 days before his birth, I started to get a little panicky. Many of the roads were closed. And my biggest worry was if my friends would be able to get to my house out of their steep driveways etc. My Mom was scheduled to fly in exactly one week early. About 10 days before his due date (which was March 7) I began having some pretty intense braxton hicks. I'll never forget walking around our neighborhood in my giant snow coat with my HUGE waddle. I am certain people thought I was horrendous. I was also quite shocked to be having a baby amid the snow. With the March due date, I never predicted such cold weather in Charlotte. It was actually kind of fun. 

 Annie and I had a blast playing in the snow together and it was a really great moment for me as her Mom. We built a snow man and then proceeded to tip him over, with her belly giggles I could hardly contain my love for her. I soaked in every last minute with her. I was going to miss this time with just my baby girl. At one point she held a giant snowball up to my belly for baby brother to see. I knew the change would be hard, but oh so so good. 

My Pregnancy with Jimmy

Let this be known as the biggest group of selfies you've ever seen. I feel terrible that I hardly documented Jimmy's pregnancy. Lets just say it was quite an unusual time for us. But baby boy deserves a good record of this. We found out we were expecting the day I got home from a visit to the Barkers. I surprised James right outside his office with a gift bag that contained a pregnancy test. He was so excited. I quickly became quite sick. I was FAR more tired than I was with Annie but was throwing up a lot less. I remember moving to our new home around 11 weeks and throwing up several times on the side of the road. We announced right at 14 weeks and could hardly contain our excitement. However, I was also very nervous. It should be said that Annie was very difficult at this time. I was terrified of having two babies. And was also sad to lose my one on one time with my little girl. But we knew it was time and were feeling so blessed to be expecting another baby. Since Annie had a swollen kidney in utero and it really freaked me out, I decided to have some additional screening done this time. Nothing too invasive - just the typical blood work etc. This included an additional ultrasound at around 13 or 14 weeks. When I went in they asked if I was going to find out the gender. I said yes and asked if they could tell something or make a prediction. The tech told me it was a boy. I asked, "are you sure, it's so early." She said she'd be shocked if she were wrong. That was then verified by the doctor who came in to look as well. I felt horrible I found out before James but played it off that we should wait for the official 20 week ultrasound to be certain. Sure enough, it was a boy. We were ecstatic! I felt pretty tired for the first 16 weeks. This is sadly when Annie started watching more TV as I could barely peal my eyes open most days. But about 16 weeks I felt great. My weight game was slow and I was working out several times a week. I felt awesome during the second trimester! This time things were very different as the baby was sitting a lot lower. Sadly, there wasn't much running or jumping and I can distinctly remember a couple embarrassing restroom moments with this pregnancy. My body was simply not the same. Lots of pressure and waddling started around 30 weeks. As usual I was measuring small around 25 weeks. We had an extra ultrasound or two but this time I wasn't worried one bit. I knew this was just what my body did. However, if you take a look at these photos it's quite alarming. Something happened in January. Perhaps it was all of the emotional eating, but my belly got HUGE the last 4 weeks. I really ballooned at that point. It's very strange as this didn't really happen with Annie. My weight gain also increased rapidly. I distinctly remember that I wouldn't look at the scale after I got back at Boston. When I arrived at the hospital to deliver they said your due date is this and you weigh about this - I was completely alarmed at my weight but luckily was in too much pain to think much about it. Yikes, this was definitely different than with Annie. The last 6 weeks were terribly miserable of rme. With my first pregnancy I worked out 4 days before giving birth. This was not the case here. Jimmy carried much lower. And I had HORRIFIC sciatic nerve pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but this was truly miserable. I hobbled everywhere - BIG time. And this is no exaggeration. I had people ask me, "Do you walk like this normally or is it just pregnancy?" My doctor assured me it would go away after birth but I feared I had really done something bad. I really, really wanted to go early this time. My doctor told me he would induce me on my due date if I'd like. But I knew I'd never go for it. Soeaking of my doctor. I went to the Bradford clinic here in Charlotte. I had several people recommend it to me. I wasn't a huge fan of rotating doctors every visit but did run across many doctors I love, especially my Doctor (Dr. Bhojwani - no that's no a typo) who was absolutely fabulous, thorough and kind. And then two women doctors. One of which had just had her own baby. She was really awesome. I was checked several times leading up to my delivery and was dilated to a 1 the first time and almost a 2 the second. One of the women was also married to an investment banker and understood my concern for having a good idea when the baby would come. She said she would be absolutely shocked if I made it to my due date given my early delivery, carrying low and already being dilated. 

I was planning on trying to have a natural delivery again. I explained to all of my doctors that they had my full support in doing whatever necessary to keep me and the baby healthy. I also explained, and my doctors agreed, that epidurals really play no part in a "healthy" delivery. I really only wanted drugs if it was a c-section situation. They were all incredibly supportive, especially since I had done it with the first. As time went on I started to get quite nervous. What if I couldn't hack it? James loved my delivery with Annie. Would he still love the delivery if I had an epidural? At our hospital you have to "pre-order" an epidural. I went ahead and did that to be on the safe side. I read a little bit beforehand and vowed that I really wanted to do it again. 

All I know is I used to kind of balk at the women who waddled and complained about being uncomfortable during pregnancy. As usual, be careful what you say. This time was a much different experience. Toward the end this time I truly thought he was going to drop out at any moment. I was miserable and so ready to meet our sweet baby boy. 

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